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Outpourings continue

Expressions of emotions continue to flow following Tita Cory’s death and the memorable people’s funeral in her honor. These are all over media – print, television, radio, and the increasingly popular social networks on the Internet such as Multiply, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.

These outpourings of respect, gratitude, and praises come from all walks of life, and from individuals whose lives were touched in one way or another by the genuinely warm and caring Tita Cory.

We received several comments from readers in reaction to our column, “Cory’s Unfinished Business,” that came out last Aug. 3, 2009 in this newspaper. We are publishing some of them today as the country observes the death anniversary of a Filipino hero and Tita Cory’s husband, Ninoy Aquino.

Humbled by her caring gesture

One of the readers who shared his story is Arben Santos, a hard-nosed street smart businessman who built from scratch several companies in the shipping industry.

He is also recognized as the “pro bono” manager of several basketball players from Ateneo, guiding them as they progress as collegiate players to professionals while ensuring that each gets to complete his college education. I know for a fact that on many occasions he is also known as the “abono” manager.

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Arben is a keen golfer (my perennial partner at golf tournaments such as the Golden Tee and the Sta. Elena Cup) but also a heavy smoker. In 2006, he suffered what looked like a heart attack and needed major surgery. We are quoting below excerpts of his “humbling experience with Tita Cory and her Fatima rosary.”

Humbling experience

“On May 5, 2006, at about 2 a.m., I woke up with a deep and heavy force endlessly pushing my chest. This was not the first time I felt this sharp pain, as this had occurred before whenever I was tired. And having just come from Japan and China on my frequent business trips, I dismissed it as another case of fatigue.

“However, this was different. This time the pain persisted for more than 10 minutes. So I hurriedly woke up my wife and asked her to take me to the hospital.

 “On the way to the hospital, my wife called my heart doctor, Dr. Gerb Ignacio, to whose care my parents had left me before they passed away. When I got to the ER, they gave me a massive dose of Catapres, sleeping pills, and I was then transferred to the intensive care unit.

“Sometime after lunch, still groggy from all the medications, I woke up and was pleasantly surprised to find Tita Cory by my bedside. Tita Cory and I had become friends because of my wife’s family, as she is the older sister of my dear mother-in-law, Passy Teopaco.

“Tita Cory also granted me the privilege of being the sponsor of my first Japanese LPG ship, way back in 1996. Tita Cory and I also shared a passion for basketball. She loved watching the game and enjoyed following the careers of Ateneo basketball players who would go on to play in the professional league. 

“The highlight of her visit was when she asked if we could pray the rosary together. To my amazement she took out the special rosary made and personally given to her by Sister Lucia. Although I had seen that rosary before when she lent it to my parents when they were sick, it now had a deeper new meaning for me.

“I was so touched and moved by her gesture. She not only went out of her way to visit me in the hospital alone, but she also stayed to lead in praying the rosary with me and my family for a successful surgery and my speedy recovery.

“Looking back, I consider it a miracle. Initially, the diagnosis was scary. The doctors said that my left main artery was almost 100 percent clogged and that I needed no less than a quintuple by-pass. This worried me since I have heard of so many cases of by-pass operations that bore both major and minor complications.

 “We overcame the challenges and the surgery was a success. And I have my team of doctors to thank – Dr. Gerb Ignacio, Dr. Ramon Diaz, Dr. Gary Lopez, and Dr. Vic Alimurung. There have been no complications whatsoever. In fact, I even benefited from it after I lost 20 lbs. In nine weeks, I was given a clean bill of health and was back playing golf. 

“I am very sure that it was through God’s grace that I have recovered and enjoyed this second life. Like many times before, God used Tita Cory as his instrument in sharing his gift of hope and love to us. And like many times before, Tita Cory was there for me and my family without much fanfare. I will always be grateful and indebted to her on how she went out of her way to show her love and support to a person in need. 

“I was humbled by this experience. This only served to increase my admiration and appreciation for her. At the end of the day, this is not about me and my recovery. This is about Tita Cory for I am certain that I just one, a mere example of the many lives that Tita Cory touched. To me, Tita Cory was the epitome of humility, compassion and service. She was a modern day saint who went out of her way to quietly help people in need. 

“It was truly an honor, a privilege, and a blessing to have personally known you, Tita Cory. I will miss you. The Filipino people will miss you. Maraming salamat, Tita Cory!”

Ultimate reason

One reader, Jester Joe, nudges us through Star’s online site to remember that the ultimate exultation is not to any human being, however extraordinary the life. He says:

“Former President Cory Aquino’s wishes must be truly remembered with legitimacy. However, there’s another unread line that needs to be pondered: that all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing!

“When nobles of the earth sent their praises and appreciations to a once heraldic leader, the occasion justifies an addition of excellent majesty to her name. Family members or relatives, friends, and associates will have duties to preserve the exaltations and honors in humbleness and not in pride nor boastful claims or irreverent accentuations.

“That’s how they need to keep Cory’s light shining brightly! Truth to tell, Madam Cory’s presidency was not of everyone’s doings or of her own effort … for it was the Most High who did both the set up and glorious appointment. It will be rewarding to understand that He remains sovereign over the kingdoms of men and that He gives them to anyone He wishes. (Excerpt from Daniel 4&5; Rom 13).”

Should you wish to share any insights, write me at Link Edge, 25th Floor, 139 Corporate Center, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, 1227 Makati City. Or e-mail me at reydgamboa@yahoo.com. For a compilation of previous articles, visit www.BizlinksPhilippines.net.

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